The magical rhythms of the Oud, an instrument very special to Arab music are resonating through the streets of Katara Cultural Village during the Second Katara Oud Festival.

Oud expert from Turkey, Ismail Zafer Haznedaroglu said that Katara, through the festival, aimed to promote the string instrument as a cultural asset. Haznedaroglu is a member of the festival’s organising committee.


Origin of the Oud

According to Ismail, there are many theories about the origin of the Oud, some spiritual and some scientific. The most accepted theory is that the Oud, as a musical instrument has its origin in Central Asia. Some Turkish tribes used to play an instrument called Kopuz which later travelled to the Middle East and gradually transformed itself into the Oud as it is known today. From the Middle East, it later travelled to Spain through Ziryab, the legendary musician of the Arab and Islamic world.

Oud is considered the ‘father of guitar’ which originated in Spain. Oud first transformed itself to lute and then to guitar. The difference between Oud and guitar is basically in the tuning system, to put it in layman’s language, according to Ismail.

Ziryab introduced a fifth string to the instrument. The modern oud generally has six strings, each in pairs. Some players are now making innovations by adding a seventh string.

Turkish Oud is more academic. Here in the Middle East, Oud is something very special. There is more respect for Oud because people here consider it as their own instrument.’

There are different styles in playing Oud and the Gulf region has a specific, and considerably an original style of its own.

Amal oud player
Amal Waqar (Image from Instagram)

Oud Festival

The festival features renowned Oud players from across the globe. Omani-American player Amal Waqar is one of the youngest. With her passion for western music, Waqar said she is trying fusion, mixing Oud with modern western instruments. Such innovations are slowly gaining popularity in the West.

Waqar, who is currently studying at the Berkeley College of Music, said she started playing the Oud when she was 16. And although her style is more modern, she said she loves the traditional style that comes with playing the Oud. She is using an Oud made by famous Turkish Oud maker Farooq Turanc, who is also participating in the Katara Festival.

The Second Oud Festival was held from 5 until 8 April. For more information about the festival, check the link below.

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